Target wants to get into the minds of teens and college-age students by investing in Generation Z entrepreneurs.
The retailer’s newest incubator focuses solely on supporting companies founded by people in the 18-to-24-year-old cohort, both so Target can find new ways to source talent and better understand the consumer behavior of the next generation. The eight-week program, based in Target’s home city Minneapolis, will focus on socially responsible products and services that target Gen Z preferences and needs. These new offerings could possibly be geared at the digital native nature of the age group, which, according to recent research, could make up for 40 percent of consumers by 2020.
With the twofold focus on Gen Z entrepreneurs and social responsibility, which marketers know is important to the demographic, Target’s making a bet on both emerging workers and customers. The Gen Z-focused program is the fourth incubator the company has launched, and the first specifically geared at 18-to-24-year-olds. In April, the company rolled out Target Takeoff, a development program for emerging beauty brands, and the Target Techstars startup accelerator just wrapped up its third class. Target has also been running a tech accelerator program in India since 2013. For Target, it’s a way to shake up a large organization with new ways of thinking, and to market the company as a partner and employer for a younger audience.